Tereneh Idia graduated from Drexel University LeBow College of Business. As a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar she received her MSC in Fashion Design from Kenyatta University. She taught at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Parsons – The New School for Design in New York City, and was visiting scholar on global fashion at Yale – National University of Singapore.
In 2013, she launched the global eco-design collaboration with OMWA: Olorgesailie Maasai Women Artists in Kenya; incorporating Indigenous adornment in sustainable textile arts and design. They have exhibited in Paris, New York City, Nairobi, and The Residence a Mattress Factory space in Pittsburgh. In 2016, the collaboration expanded to include The Beading Wolves, an Oneida family of artisans. Tereneh’s inspirations are: Material. Matter. Manner. Meaning.
“Fashion is an opaque and impersonal creative industry. I am interested in making it transparent and personal. How, who, where, why, and even when body adornment is made is something most know nothing about, yet everyone, everywhere adorns their body in some way even if it is only to rub pigment on their face. There is something so human and necessary about the process of adornment that I believe it has become devalued, especially here in the United States. I would love to be part of the process of getting people to think more deeply about clothing, fashion, adornment and dress as well as show them a role they can play in creating works for themselves and others.
The process of understanding the elements of design: form, color, process, material, shape as well as the social and cultural context of these designs speaks to the personal and public importance of clothing and all forms of adornment.”
Learn more about the collaborative process with the Maasai artists: